One of the largest challenges companies face in today's business landscape is the proactive safeguarding of sensitive client data, financial information, health records, and more. Your customers are entrusting you with their sensitive information and any external breach can lead to irreparable consequences for both your clients, and your business.
In order to regulate the protection of this data, the government has recently implemented many acts and laws that establish standards for recording and storing this data. Compliance with federal laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Gramm Leach Bliley (GLB) Act are critical to maintaining your company's stature with both your customers, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Protecting your customers and complying with federal laws are why we recommend a document shredder to anyone who deals with physical confidential documents that contain sensitive information. Read on to learn about how to choose the right shredder for your needs.
The first question to ask about any shredder is what items can it comfortably shred? Paper clips, staples, credit cards, CDs and DVDs are common items that need to be shredded, but can all cause undo wear and tear on the cutting blade if the shredder is not designed to handle them. Overtime, excess shredding of these materials on a lower grade shredder can slow productivity and cause permanent damage. It is important to ask how these types of objects will affect the longevity and productivity of the unit.
Learning and understanding what materials a shredder is made from is one of the most important steps in determining its durability and longevity. Many of today's shredder cutting blades are made of a black composite model that is extremely sharp and works great at first, but tends to dull quickly. If you're looking for a machine that will last, you'll want one with a steel cutting wheel and shaft, as this will be of much higher quality.
*As a quick plug, the MBM shredders we carry are made of Solingen steel from Germany, which is used for making some of the highest-quality blades in the world.
Now back to your regularly scheduled article...
The other part you'll want to look at is the construction of the cabinet. Most of today's cabinets are made of solid wood, which will hold up well and should never cause any problems. However, if you live or work in very hot and humid conditions, you may want to consider something made of a medium density fiberboard (MDF), which is stronger and more dense. This type of wood stands up better in heat and humidity than regular wood.
We typically recommend a smaller, deskside shredder for an office of 1-5 people who shred on a moderate basis. For offices larger than this, who are shredding consistently on a daily basis, we recommend going with a larger, centralized office shredder. For large jobs and special projects, we recommend going with a high-capacity unit. These are typically the most expensive units, but are great for continuous shredding of high volume.
Different types of shredders differ in the types of cuts the blades make. This directly effects how difficult it is for someone to reassemble the document. These different shredders are all made from the exact same system, but differ in the type of cutting head they have.
- Level 4 - A Level 4 shredder produces particle sizes of 4 x 40 mm (3/16 x 1 1/2 inches). This meets the requirements outlined in the laws above for financial and health organizations.
- Level 5 - A Level 5 shredder also classifies as a cross-cut model, but shreds the particles even smaller than a level 4. The particle sizes products from this model are 2 x 15 mm (3/32 x 5/8 inches). We recommend this to financial and health institutions who want to add even more security for their customers.
- Level 7 - this designates the highest level of document shredding protection. This designation is only given to Micro-Cut shredders. You may see some manufacturers call these units level 6 security, but there is minimal to no difference between a level 6 and a level 7 shredder. All of the machines Monroe carries with this designation are compliant with federal privacy laws such as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), as well as approved by the National Security Agency, Central Security Service and Department of Defense for the shredding of top secret documents.
This question can be answered by taking a look at the shred capacity and the shred speed of the shredder. This concept can be best explained by looking at an example.
Let's take a look at MBM's 4002 cross-cut.
The shred capacity for the Level 4 security unit is 24-26 sheets of paper at once (calculated using regular printer paper, size *8 1/2" x 11", 20 pound bond paper). This means that you can put 24-26 sheets of paper into the paper feed at one time without overtaxing the machine. This model also has a shred speed of 25 feet per minute. You then multiply the 25 feet per minute by the 26 sheet capacity to determine that this unit can shred approximately 650 sheets per minute total. This formula can be applied to any shredder to determine how quickly your shredder can shred at maximum capacity.